Genome-wide network-based pathway analysis of CSF t-tau/Aβ1-42 ratio in the ADNI cohort

for the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Background: The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of total tau (t-tau) and Aβ1-42 are potential early diagnostic markers for probable Alzheimer's disease (AD). The influence of genetic variation on these CSF biomarkers has been investigated in candidate or genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, the investigation of statistically modest associations in GWAS in the context of biological networks is still an under-explored topic in AD studies. The main objective of this study is to gain further biological insights via the integration of statistical gene associations in AD with physical protein interaction networks. Results: The CSF and genotyping data of 843 study subjects (199 CN, 85 SMC, 239 EMCI, 207 LMCI, 113 AD) from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) were analyzed. PLINK was used to perform GWAS on the t-tau/Aβ1-42 ratio using quality controlled genotype data, including 563,980 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), with age, sex and diagnosis as covariates. Gene-level p-values were obtained by VEGAS2. Genes with p-value≤0.05 were mapped on to a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network (9,617 nodes, 39,240 edges, from the HPRD Database). We integrated a consensus model strategy into the iPINBPA network analysis framework, and named it as CM-iPINBPA. Four consensus modules (CMs) were discovered by CM-iPINBPA, and were functionally annotated using the pathway analysis tool Enrichr. The intersection of four CMs forms a common subnetwork of 29 genes, including those related to tau phosphorylation (GSK3B, SUMO1, AKAP5, CALM1 and DLG4), amyloid beta production (CASP8, PIK3R1, PPA1, PARP1, CSNK2A1, NGFR, and RHOA), and AD (BCL3, CFLAR, SMAD1, and HIF1A). Conclusions: This study coupled a consensus module (CM) strategy with the iPINBPA network analysis framework, and applied it to the GWAS of CSF t-tau/Aβ1-42 ratio in an AD study. The genome-wide network analysis yielded 4 enriched CMs that share not only genes related to tau phosphorylation or amyloid beta production but also multiple genes enriching several KEGG pathways such as Alzheimer's disease, colorectal cancer, gliomas, renal cell carcinoma, Huntington's disease, and others. This study demonstrated that integration of gene-level associations with CMs could yield statistically significant findings to offer valuable biological insights (e.g., functional interaction among the protein products of these genes) and suggest high confidence candidates for subsequent analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number421
JournalBMC genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 30 2017


  • Alzhermer's disease
  • CSF biomarker
  • Consensus module
  • Network analysis
  • Pathway analysis
  • T-tau/Aβ ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Genome-wide network-based pathway analysis of CSF t-tau/Aβ1-42 ratio in the ADNI cohort'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this